Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
UK international strategy “incoherent”
Plagiarism or “patch writing?”
UK visa rules could prove costly
Skype vs long distance
1) LET’S GO CANADA – UK international strategy “incoherent”
Researchers from Kingston University have deemed UK’s international strategy abroad as uncoordinated and “incoherent” in a report commissioned by UK think-tank Millions+.
The report, “Universities and International Higher Education Partnerships,” highlights conflicts between departments that should be aligned. It also reveals a lack of transparency in the role of the British Council, indicating that it often competes with institutions in the delivery of educational services.
According to the report, there is a general lack of awareness at agency and government levels of the activities of partner institutions, including Millions+. It cited Australia’ and Germany’s “coordinated and strategic” approaches to international policy as models to follow and recommended a database be created to bring together the international activities of UK universities.
Source: “http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=405185&c=1.’” Times Higher Education, 29 January 2009.
2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Plagiarism or “patch writing?”
Plagiarism detection software may be further complicating the efforts of international students studying in a second or third language.
Detection software is revealing that many students are plagiarists, and most of the offenders are international students.
Non-native students are presented with the vocabulary and grammar to converse and write in English. Many, though, still struggle with fluency and often engage in “patch writing” in order to sound more like their teachers and the authors they read. Students will copy from source texts, replace grammar structures, and use synonyms where they can in order to produce informed and engaged arguments with the texts.
Students must also adapt to a new academic culture. In Asia, copying may be seen as a valid route to learning and paying respect to your superiors, but in Western European and North American schools, the same behaviour is seen as cheating.
If detection software is to be used effectively, it must be used only to identify problems and not to pinpoint “cheaters.” International students need less scrutiny and paranoia and more support if they are to flourish in the overseas universities they choose to attend.
Source: “http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=405187&c=1,” The Times Higher Education, 30 January 2009.
3) OVER THE COUNTER – UK visa rules at odds with UK recruitment efforts
Scottish universities are worried that London’s new visa system guaranteeing student visas to a maximum of only four years could deter students from studying in the UK.
Students studying five-year degrees like medicine and architecture would have to apply for a permit for their final year, a logistical hoop some administrators say will seriously affect students’ decision about where they choose to study.
A Universities Scotland representative has stated that, with the US opening its doors to more international students and more countries increasing their recruitment efforts, now is the worst time to restrict Scottish university recruiting efforts.
When the recent recruiting efforts of the British Council (see 11th February issue, “Getting a UK student visa: it’s a rap”) are taken into context, it looks like the desires of the two public bodies–the UK Border Agency and the British Council–stand at odds, which could dissuade students who want to study in the UK.
International students look for clarity and assurance that their investment of time and money will pay off. Students will only be confused when presented with a hip new advertisement inviting them to study and strict regulations restricting their years spent in the UK, which may ultimately be reflected in enrollment numbers.
Source: “http://www.heraldscotland.com/pound-50m-universities-warn-this-is-what-new-uk-visa-rules-could-cost-them-every-year-1.827195,” Sunday Herald, 15 February 2009.
4) GLOBE TIPPING – Skype vs long distance
Hotel long distance and mobile phone roaming charges can add up significantly when travelling in your own country and especially overseas.
Voice Over IP technology allows you to skip many long distance and roaming issues by connecting you to your clients and loved ones over the internet.
Programs like Skype, a text, voice, and video chat client, allows you to chat free of cost with other Skype users. The program keeps a portable address book that loads automatically when you sign in, regardless of where the computer you’re using is located.
If you’re accustomed to paying for internet at hotels and convention halls, or using business centres to work online, you can use Skype as a means of communicating long distance instead of racking up long distance charges.
Sign up is free at the Skype website and the user-friendly program can be downloaded in a matter of minutes.